“Coming! Give me a few minutes!” A female voice called out.
It didn’t sound like the ahjumma. The voice sounded too young for a middle-aged woman. Sooyeon wondered who it could be.
A moment later, a young girl emerged from the back, dressed in a yellow short sleeve tee with a white apron. Her hair was tucked under a snapback and there was a hint of chocolate on the side of her lips.
“Hello!” The young girl wiped her hands on a wet towel as she stood behind the ice cream display. She looked up and their eyes met.
“Hey, it’s you. Welcome back!” the girl greeted brightly.
A delicious scent of home-cooked food permeated the air in the Jung household. Yoona, the middle child, was already sitting at the dining table with her cutlery in her hands.
“Unnie ya, Soojungie, dinner is ready!!” Yoona yelled at the top of her voice.
“Yoong, how many times have I told you not to yell at your sisters like that? You should go to their rooms to call them,” Mrs Jung chided, shooting a fierce glare at Yoona.
Yoona sulked a little, refusing to move from her seat. She couldn’t wait to dig into the food in front of her. Her mother was a fantastic cook and she loved eating at home. The fragrant scent of her favourite beef galbi soup was making her very hungry. She had just finished a bag of honey butter chips but that wasn’t enough to satisfy her hunger.
Yuri popped into the cafe she usually frequented to get her usual cuppa. It was late afternoon and she wanted to take a quick break before the evening peak hour crowd rushed in.
There was only a handful of people in the cafe and most of them were queuing up for takeaways. Yuri joined the end of the queue and waited patiently.
“Stop bothering me, Min. I made myself very clear the last time!”
The sudden exclamation made everyone in the cafe turn their heads in the direction of the commotion for a moment. One of the women at the table stood up and slung her bag over her shoulder.
Be the reason someone smiles today.
The bright yellow taxi came to a stop by the side of the road. A tall slender woman stepped out of the driver’s door and went to the back of the taxi where a lady passenger was standing.
“Good morning madam, I’m Yuri. Let me help you put your shopping bags into the boot while you take a seat in the car,” Yuri greeted with a smile.
Yuri took a glance in the rearview mirror and noticed the woman was fanning herself with a brochure. She quickly lowered the temperature of the air-conditioning in her taxi, hoping to make it a more comfortable ride for her passenger.
“Is there a sale at Marks and Spencers? I noticed you bought quite a number of stuff from there.”
Two days later, I opened my locker and saw a pink piece of paper lying on my baseball jersey.
Two days, forty eight hours, two thousand eight hundred and eighty minutes of waiting in anticipation, wondering if I would ever get a reply.
I broke into a wide grin as I read the note.
There are moments in life when you stop and ask yourself what you’re doing in life and you’re your priorities are. Sometimes you wonder if it was worth going through the trouble or putting up with other people’s criticisms when you push ahead with your own opinion.
It was a cold winter night. I slipped on my jacket, wrapped a scarf around my neck, put on my boots and headed out to the waterfront. The cold wind was blowing against my face and it felt like I was pressing my face against an ice wall. I adjusted the scarf to cover half my face as I walked down the quiet street.
“This is the last time you’re going to hear from me. Thank you for being so helpful and for being so nice to me for the past year. Goodbye.”
Those words rang in my head. I could still recall the sadness in her voice and in that note she left me.